A good academic paper, like a river, is a fluent intertwining, an intermingling and winding together of strands of material from different sources which all arrive at a unified outcome. It does not end where it began. At least, that is one model of it.
But this paper has more than one beginning. It is composed of a number of strands, and the end of each strand may be an arrival at the beginning of each of the others. Being more circular than linear, cumulative rather than progressive, perhaps my paper more resembles an ocean than a river. An ocean is not an intertwining of different strands, but their separation; and who is to say which strand has priority over another? In fact, to be stranded, when one thinks of the ocean, means to be marooned on one strand only, to be disabled. To be stranded in this context means to be beached. And it is the beach I want to talk about today. But about being on the beach without being stranded. About the beach, the strand, as a site of plurality, as an opening out, rather than a closing down.